IM Rare Earths News in Brief 22 – 29 June

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Monday, 29 June 2015

ERECON final report released; Stans hires additional counsel; Lynas receives positive IEIA report.

A report entitled "Strengthening the European Rare Earths Supply Chain – Challenges and Policy Options" has been released by the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON), a think tank operating at arm’s length from the European Union (EU).

The report predicts a 20% increase in rare earths demand between 2014 and 2017, rising to 50% higher by 2020.

It said that rare earths substitution is not a panacea to rare earths supply, that the development of new heavy rare earths sources outside of China and greater recycling must remain an "urgent priority" for Europe.

"The conclusions and policy recommendations demonstrate an understanding of the growing importance of resource security to Europe and need for long term strategic planning," Mark Saxon, CEO of TSX-V-listed Tasman Metals Ltd, which owns the Nora Karr rare earths project in Sweden, said.

"Volatile pricing and insecure access to rare earths and other raw materials threaten to undermine European competitiveness and may slow the uptake and development of priority low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and offshore wind energy," Saxon added.

TSX-V-listed Stans Energy Corp. has retained additional counsel for its numerous legal cases against the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan.

The company is seeking the repatriation of an estimated $118m in lost earnings relating to what it saw as the unlawful repossession of its Kutessay II rare earths project.

"As our case has grown both in scope and in size, additional resources are available to the company for deployment to ensure that a robust plan is in place to secure compensation for Stans and its stakeholders relating to the impact on the company’s business operations in Kyrgyzstan," Rodney Irwin, Stans’ CEO, said.

Bennet Jones LLP will continue to work with Stans while Torys LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer will commence counsel to the company under the arrangements.

Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp. has welcomed an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) release that suggests that its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia is low risk.

Campaigners protesting against the LAMP. (Source: Ryan Albrey, via Flickr)

"The radiological risks to members of the public and to the environment associated with the operation of [the] LAMP are intrinsically low," the IEIA said.

The report is particularly important for the company owing to a history of protests against the company’s facility in Malaysia, at which it processes ore material from the Mount Weld mine in Australia.

Campaigners originally protested against the site over disproven concerns about its radioactive by-products, fed by a local now-disused plant that had caused health problems in the past

Lynas also released comments on recent volatile trading of its shares. It said it was not aware of any information that has not been announce that could explain the recent trading patterns.

"Based on recent performance the business currently expects to continue to deliver positive free cash flow," Lynas said.